After introducing its new healthcare business DocPrime a few months ago, online insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar is now planning to leverage the portfolio companies of its newest investor, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, to strengthen the service.
PolicyBazaar entered the Unicorn club thanks to SoftBank’s recent $238 Mn funding. PolicyBazaar plans to work with China’s Ping An Insurance Group, which owns and operates Ping An Good Doctor — the world’s largest healthcare portal — to strengthen DocPrime. Ping An Good Doctor is backed by Softbank.
Founded in 2008 by IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad alumni Yashish Dahiya, Alok Bansal, and Avaneesh Nirjar, PolicyBazaar is an online portal that enables users to compare and purchase life insurance and general insurance.
Inc42 had reported in March that PolicyBazaar plans to venture into healthcare with a new healthtech offering. Now, the company has announced the launch of DocPrime, its new healthcare business, which is currently in beta stage and is expected to launch officially this month.
Yashish Dahiya, group chief executive of ETechAces, the parent of PolicyBazaar, said, “During our conversations, SoftBank asked us to look at Ping An, and see whether the model could be replicated… These conversations took place in 2018 itself… We have had conversations with Ping An. We have been to China, and looked at ways for us to work together.”
Based in China, Ping An Good Doctor connects patients with doctors and claims to have over 190 Mn registered users and more than 30 Mn monthly active users.
The company provides healthcare and business insurance management services such as expense control service, actuarial service, healthcare insurance account service, medical resources management, and health profile application.
DocPrime offers a similar portfolio and plans to convert consumers spending out of their pockets on healthcare into getting insurance.
DocPrime is a monthly subscription service that will provide complete coverage of outpatient department (OPD) expenses incurred by users, covering all doctor calls, medical checks, and tests, barring surgeries and pharmacy-related expenses.
Dahiya said, “Lots of interesting dynamics going on at the moment, but we are very excited about the future. We would be delighted to have Ping An on board. But it’s their choice.”
He claimed that DocPrime has onboarded 14,000 doctors and an estimated 10,000 labs and clinics on its network.
Earlier, Dahiya had said that DocPrime aims to “tie-up with about 300 hospitals by the end of the next financial year. These services will help the company create very powerful data on consumer healthcare habits, as well as design intelligent and customised products for in-patient department insurance.”
A report by ET cited Dahiya as saying that the startup had broken even in FY17, after chalking a total revenue of $33.8 Mn (INR 220 Cr) in the said period.
Challenges In Out-Of-Pocket Expenses Industry
DocPrime, which offers services such as online access to hospitals, medical professionals etc, will directly challenge players such as the Tencent-backed Practo.
Bengaluru-based Practo recently partnered with ICICI Lombard General Insurance to launch its health insurance app — ‘IL TakeCare’. At the launch, the ICICI Lombard said that the app is a step to solve outpatient expenses towards consultation, diagnostics and medicines.
According to an IBEF report, the overall Indian healthcare market stands at $100 Bn. It is expected to touch $280 Bn by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 22.9%.
According to industry estimates, standalone outpatient care in terms of size will be six times that of the current health insurance market. Drugs, diagnostics, consultations, and tests primarily constitute out-of-pocket-expenses.
In India, outpatient expenses are met through personal income and savings, making it difficult for OPD patients to pay for various medical services.
Further, it has been estimated that about 3.5% of the population is below the poverty line because of out-of-pocket health expenses, which can decline to 0.5% if out-of-pocket payments for outpatient care are excluded.
Inc42, in its weekly series WTF (What The Financials), had found that in FY17, PolicyBazaar as a whole projected a growth of 331% compared to FY16.
In FY17, PolicyBazaar’s total income was INR 76.45 Cr ($11.15 Mn) against an expense of INR 140 Cr ($20.43 Mn).
DocPrime’s tie-up with a portfolio company of a giant such as SoftBank is sure to give it a headstart in the competitive healthtech industry.
[The development was reported by ET.]